Dissecting the Impact of Import Competition on U.S. Earnings Inequality

Felipe Benguria
University of Kentucky

This paper studies the impact of globalization on U.S. earnings inequality in the context of rapidly growing import competition from China. The increase in U.S. inequality during 2000-2007 has been driven entirely by changes within regions}. While the existing literature has established differences in wage growth across regions as a consequence of import competition, understanding the impact of globalization on rising U.S. inequality requires then focusing on its impact on inequality within regions. Exploiting variation in exposure to this unprecedented trade shock across local labor markets I find that import competition causes an increase in earnings inequality.

Published: January, 2019

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